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City despair at the Arsenal bulwark: Liverpool benefit from draw in top match

The top match on matchday 30 of the Premier League between Manchester City and Arsenal FC ended goalless – and produced a smiling third-placed team. The Sky Blues lacked a sparkling idea in attack against the mostly compact Gunners

In the thrilling three-way battle at the top of the Premier League, the last direct duel between the three title contenders – Arsenal, City and Liverpool – was on the agenda on Easter Sunday. In the last league match before the international break, the Sky Blues and the Reds drew (1-1) and now Pep Guardiola’s team took on the Gunners. However, defender Walker was injured on his international trip, meaning Guardiola had to change his starting eleven from the 2-0 win over Newcastle in the FA Cup quarter-final: Aké moved into the back line for the 33-year-old. At the same time, De Bruyne reported fit in time to replace Doku (bench) in the first eleven.

At Arsenal – who had won eight league games in a row recently – coach Mikel Arteta only made one change after the 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over Porto in the Champions League round of 16. Gabriel Jesus was brought on from the start in attack, with Trossard on the bench. And the Brazilian created the first chance of the game. In the 8th minute, Akanji misjudged a cross and Gabriel Jesus took the ball on his chest, but his shot went just wide

Arsenal pull back – City lack the idea

After Arsenal exerted early pressure with high pressing in the opening stages, the Gunners retreated further and further. Man City gradually took more and more control of the game and at one point had 73% possession – but were unable to convert this into dangerous shots against a deep and compact Gunners side, who at times retreated all the way back to their own penalty area. Apart from a shot from Aké, who found himself free in the five-yard box after a corner and was unable to place the ball accurately enough (16′), there was hardly any danger in the Arsenal penalty area.

Aké then had to be substituted with an injury in the 27th minute. The short injury break obviously did the visitors good, and Arsenal then managed to break free again. Gabriel Jesus again created an offensive pinprick (31′), but otherwise further chances remained scarce until half-time

The opening phase of the second half was very similar to the first half. The Sky Blues lacked a sparkling idea against a mostly compact Arsenal block, apart from a long-range shot next to the goal by Kovacic (48′). At times, however, Arsenal attacked earlier and forced a loss of possession, as a result of which Gabriel Jesus narrowly missed a low cross from inside the five-yard box (53′).

Haaland misses – Ortega Moreno saves

With several changes – including Doku and Grealish for the inconspicuous Foden and Kovacic – City coach Guardiola once again went all out on the offensive. However, the home side still rarely created any real goal threat.

It was only in the closing stages that both sides had another good chance. Haaland missed at the far post after a corner kick and a header extension (84′), and shortly afterwards Trossard, who was sent upfield, tried to score from an acute angle – Ortega Moreno, who was once again guarding the City goal for Ederson, was on hand (86′).

So it remained 0-0 in the top match – and the laughing third is Liverpool. The Reds, who won 2-1 against Brighton on Sunday, overtook Arsenal in the table and moved top of the table with 67 points. They are followed by the Gunners with 65 points and City with 64 points. The race for the Premier League title therefore remains extremely exciting

Both teams are back in Premier League action during the week, with Arsenal hosting Luton Town on Wednesday (8.30pm) and Man City playing Aston Villa on the same day (9.15pm).

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